29. Home, Sweet Home

No matter how much fun it was to see the country and how grateful we are that we could visit family, it’s always nice to be home.  Driving through New York and over the GW Bridge felt so familiar– as did the traffic on I-95 in Connecticut. As we pulled into the drive, Cassie got very excited and the first thing we did was go out in the back yard and play!

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26. Chilly but No Snow

Woke up to 29 degrees but decided to take the northern route out of Santa Fe, as the feared snowstorm headed onward to Minnesota. (Land of my relatives, who have 2 more months of winter ahead of them!)

The buttes and scenery as we went from New Mexico to Colorado were entrancing.  

Finally exited the mountainous region of the West and reached Kanorado, (yes, really!) the first town as we entered Kansas. Who knew?

With 1100 miles behind us, we are not quite 1/2 of the way across the country; 1600 miles yet to go!

25. Santa Fe, Pueblos, and Art

Spent the night in Santa Fe and got up early to bring Cassie to a new doggie day care, Santa Fe Tails. Awesome place. After her “evaluation,” they decided she was friendly and compatible, and off we went to Chimayo, the Sanctuary site also known as the “Lourdes of America.”

                                                          
The tiny adobe chapel is 200 years old and a site for pilgrims to have their prayers heard.  As we entered we saw hundreds of baby shoes displayed all around the chapel– where people have said prayers for the health of their children.  The larger church is a place of prayer with five alters and a side room; the church was built on this site where a crucifix was said to be found, and now people come to get holy soil from the ground on this spot.
Leaving the Santuario de Chimayo, we headed to the Puye Cliff Dwellings.  This was the ancestral home of the Santa Clara Pueblo Indians.   Pueblo people descended from Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde , probably in search of water, to this plateau.  They lived here until the early 1600’s, and now Santa Clara nearby is their modern community. 

These ancient people developed very elaborate masonry, farming,  and artistic skills and their pottery remains a valuable cultural treasure.  It was sunny, but windy, and I walked up to the cliff face while Dave remained below taking photos.

                                                

As we drove away to nearby pottery making community of San Ildefonso, we marveled at the beauty of this region.  It is no wonder Georgia O’Keefe wanted to live and paint here! After a walk through downtown and seeing the Plaza and  St. Francis Cathedral, we had a true Mexican lunch at The Shed.  Then we enjoyed hours of walking through the Georgia O’Keefe museum.  

One more night in Santa Fe and we will be headed East– snow following us, so the southern route might be in our future.

24. Arizona to New Mexico– and a Meteor Crater

We had unexpected stop near Flagstaff, at Meteor Crater, where 50,000 years ago a meteor hit the earth at 26,000 mph.  It created a giant bowl-shaped cavity 700 feet deep and 4,000 feet across. We visited mainly because Dave, an aeronautical engineer, is fascinated with all things space.  Neil Armstrong trained here for his moon walk in 1963.

From there, we drove along I 40 with lovely mountains in the distance.

Stopped in Gallup, NM for barbecue and beer at Smokey’s– 40 varieties on tap– and awesome BBQ.

From Gallup we had to skip Chaco Canyon (no dogs allowed), so on to Santa Fe!  We  crossed the Continental Divide at 3:30 pm after 15 hours of driving, and 986 miles.  Dave commented that every American should visit the West– for its landscape and vast distances.  We have driven 2 full days since San Francisco, and if you compare it to the US map, we have gone less than a third of the way across the country, or would have covered only New England. An amazing land we live in. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

23. Route 66

OK so this is one for the record books. Driving across I40 we decided we needed gas and lunch, and pulled off onto Route 66 — Goffs Road– expecting a regular truck stop.  Instead we found a restaurant and gas station with lots of rock and roll blaring in the parking lot. A nod to Kerouac and the beats, although the music we heard was Springsteen and Journey.

Route 66 may be historic, but it sure is expensive. They charged $4.99 a gallon for gas, wouldn’t take American Express, and posted big signs “restrooms for paying customers only.”  Pity the poor guy who stops to pee but can’t afford it.

After paying $84 for a fill, we decided to eat elsewhere.  At least Cassie had food in the car! Happy girl.